Tampa Bay Buccaneers Begin Their Hunt for Undrafted Free Agents

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IApril 29, 2012

Iowa State's Leonard Johnson (23)  was the QB at Largo High.
Iowa State's Leonard Johnson (23) was the QB at Largo High.Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The new number for you to keep in mind is 90, NINETY, nine-oh.

That's the new, increased number of roster spots teams can take into summer training camp and it's going to help squads like the new Greg Schiano-coached Buccaneers.

Prior to the just-completed draft, the Bucs had 65 rostered players, Connor Barth hasn't signed his tender yet, he would make it 66. Add the seven draft picks and the Bucs can add as many as 27 undrafted free agents.

Mark Dominik didn't waste any time. By Sunday morning the Bucs added perhaps the top unsigned cornerback, Leonard Johnson from Iowa State, a former quarterback here at Largo High.

The Bucs added tackle Mike VanDerMeulen from Toledo and former University of South Florida Bull Chaz Hine, who played center and guard, another guy who falls into the Schiano theme of "versatile."

Dominik reportedly also has his eyes on Dan Persa, the Northwestern quarterback, teammate of tight end Drake Dunsmore, the Bucs' second pick in the seventh round, the 233rd player drafted.

There are some other intriguing players from the University of South Florida.

One is running back Darrell Scott. Scott is 6'1", 239 pounds and ran 4.5 40-yard dash at his pro day. Big back, speed, power.

South Florida safety Jerrell Young would be worth a look. He's 6'1", 210 pounds, a solid player.

It would also come as no surprise if the Bucs brought in Joe Martinek, the fullback for Schiano at Rutgers. He's a tough, hard-nosed runner and a superb blocker.

Another cornerback who didn't get drafted is Virginia's Chase Minnifield.

Finding quality, undrafted free agents is where the scouting department earns its keep.

Keep this in mind—Bill Belichick had 18 undrafted free agents on the New England Patriots roster last season.

Now that's scouting.